Dawn Oakley-Smith founded Heartshore in 2003. Dawn's sensitive, therapeutic approach is the total opposite of traditional horsemanship methods, making her an unusual horsewoman in the Gloucestershire landscape.
Dawn works with horses from a healing perspective, considering the life journey each horse has taken, allowing Heartshore horses the freedom to choose; something Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty would be proud to witness.
With a background in secondary school education, and over 40 years spent living and working with horses, it made perfect sense for Dawn to combine her intuition and knowledge into a place of learning, growth and respect for these animals which have long served us and who offer so much therapeutically.
On completion of Adam Goodfellow’s Intelligent Horsemanship Foundation, Dawn developed her own approach to teaching children and adults how to build a relationship with their horses in a natural and more holistic, thoughtful way than traditional methods allow.
Dawn also set up a livery where horses could live in keeping with the principles of natural horsemanship.
Not only is Dawn interested in the wellbeing of horses, but also that of people, often working with autistic children and their families, and children and young adults with behavioural and learning difficulties.
Dawn is a qualified facilitator and part of the faculty at The International Foundation for Equine Assisted Learning (IFEAL).
Dawn's daughter, India Oakley-Smith has been instrumental in the running of Heartshore, responsible for the training of new horses, riding lessons, management the yard and care of the herd.
India now works for Somerset based charity, Key4Life maintaining a strong link with Heartshore through workshops and events to support the rehabilitation of at-risk young adults.
India also completed the Intelligent Horsemanship Foundation with Adam Goodfellow.
Marianne Parish has been an integral part of Heartshore for many years, starting out as a volunteer, and a participant of Adam Goodfellow's Intelligent Horsemanship Foundation course.
Outside of her work with Heartshore, Marianne is an accomplished singer-songwriter, with her debut solo album soon to be released. You can follow Marianne on Instagram here.